Living in Thailand overview; it's on those occasions that I leave Thailand that I really appreciate just how much I like the place. That's not to say that I don't appreciate it when I am there, it's just that being elsewhere makes me miss the place almost as soon as I leave.
I'm back in the U.K. for the next few weeks visiting friends and family. I think now (July) is the best time to leave Thailand; the wet season isn't my favourite whilst July/August are usually the best months in Britain as far as the weather goes. 'Usually' being the operative word... it's wet, cold, miserable and gloomy outside... the picture below shows the typical summer weather in the U.K. I'm fairly sure that I'd prefer the Thai wet season over this misery every time! (Eagle eyed readers will notice that the U.K. flag is upside down... what can I say, the neighbours are not British!)
I put the T.V. on last night... there's not much else to do on a Tuesday night over here; I found a programme that got me thinking about living in Thailand and other South East Asian countries. You might have heard of this programme, it's called 'Banged up Abroad'. As the name suggests, it's all about foreigners (usually Westerners) that have found themselves in trouble with the law overseas. This particular episode was about an unfortunate Australian chap who ended up being falsely convicted of drug smuggling into Bali, Indonesia. His story could very easily have been based in Thailand or another country in the region, all the same principles apply.
This poor fellow woke up in the early hours of the morning one day to the sound of policemen storming into his hotel room. He was carted off to the local police station where his fingerprints were taken along with those of a friend of his who had also been arrested. His friend (the guilty party) was fond of smoking cannabis and had smuggled quite a lot of it into the country, leaving his prints all over the stuff. The police then managed to mix up the Australian chap's fingerprints with those of his friend.
You can guess where the story is going... the poor soul ended up spending about 15 years in an Indonesian prison for something he didn't do. You might think that the police would have released him once they discovered their mistake with the fingerprints but oh no, not a chance, such a thing would have meant a serious loss of face! Much better to let an innocent man lose his freedom, his wife and his child, than just admit an error.
This bloke went through sheer hell; at one point
he was attacked in the prison by other inmates who were robbing him. He
was stabbed repeatedly and ended up actually being pronounced dead in
hospital. He wasn't dead, but ended up permanently blind in his left
eye, he had a punctured lung, and he had to have his spleen removed.
As much as I love living in Thailand, cases like this do make you stop and think. You really do need to be extra careful with things here. In the West it's easy to have a very relaxed attitude about things and that can lead to mistakes being made. When you are in Thailand and other countries in the region, you need to make absolutely certain that you are treading on the right side of the law. You also need to think carefully about the company you keep; getting involved with the wrong people can be a big mistake as the unfortunate Australian man found.
If you do behave yourself, and you keep the right company, I don't think there is too much to worry about though. Cases as serious as this one are rare. I can honestly say that I've never had a single problem with any officials, policemen or others, in Thailand.
There's no doubt about it, scary stories aside, moving to Thailand was one of my better decisions in life. I've managed to make the leap at a relatively young age but even if I was 90 years old I can't imagine thinking that the West is a better place to live.
You do need to have enough money to support yourself, obviously, but living in Thailand is much cheaper than living in the West. That means that the 'Retire Thailand' option is a real possibility for many people, and I'd urge anyone to at least give it some thought. Have a look at the two pictures above and tell me where you would prefer to be seated.... somewhere looking at the British outdoors as in the top picture, or on Pattaya beach looking out at the scenery in the second picture. It's no contest in my opinion... Thailand wins out every time.
In Pattaya especially there's not even a hesitation, never mind a
contest. Put it this way... in Pattaya, I've never once found myself
watching a sad story on T.V. (on a Tuesday night or any other night)
because there was nothing else to do! Just step outside into the Pattaya
nightlife and you'll almost instantly find yourself having a great
In Pattaya especially there's not even a hesitation, never mind a contest. Put it this way... in Pattaya, I've never once found myself watching a sad story on T.V. (on a Tuesday night or any other night) because there was nothing else to do! Just step outside into the Pattaya nightlife and you'll almost instantly find yourself having a great time!
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